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November 24, 2010 - Kylie Saari
Before I tell you how I feel about a recent discussion about changing from a traditional school calendar to an alternative, let me first tell you this. When I was in high school, my school transitioned from a typical seven period day to a block schedule that allowed four, two-hour segments of each subject. While the decision to do that was being made, I vowed to drop out of school if they changed the schedule. Let's just say I didn't enjoy the prospect of change. To make a long story short, I didn't drop out, and I ended up loving the new schedule. So, that said, when Joe Brown told everyone at the school board meeting the SDCC committee is considering changing the school calendar from a traditional, start after Labor Day end in June, type to a possibility of a 6 week on/ 2 week off schedule, or a 9 week on/3 week off schedule, or even 44 weeks of four day weeks from Sept to July, I was aghast. Everyone at the meeting was ohhing and ahhing about the wonderful idea and how they wished they had kids in school for that kind of schedule. But this is what I thought. No, that would take to long, let me summarize: Are you kidding? You know what that would do to my schedule?! Three weeks of finding someone to watch the kids every six weeks? You guys must be nuts! Then I realized this is supposed to benefit the kids by limiting their time out of school and "summer learning loss" so I tried not to think about how majorly this would mess up my life and think of their learning. So then I thought: Are you kidding? Is learning at school the most important thing for these kids? Shouldn't they have long days to lay in the grass looking at bugs and entire three months of afternoons spent swimming? I felt like these people feel they own my kids! Sorry, guys, guess what, I am in charge. You don't get them all the time. The lady next to me mentioned they will still get the same amount of time off, it would just be spread out during the year. Great I thought. Three weeks trapped inside during the coldest months of winter and stuck in a building for the scant weeks we get of warmth. As you can tell by now, I am not liking these ideas. So I said to her, summer learning loss is not universal, although teachers do spend several weeks making up for what kids forgot in the summer. I once wrote a story about this, and simply keeping kids reading material the challenges them during the summer virtually erases the loss. When I told her that, she basically looked at me like I had lost my mind. Imagine, parents keeping their kids engaged all summer! And so I realized, I would end up paying for other parents' choices. And THEN I realized, my kids don't even go to public school, so there is a chance, slim as it may be, that this won't even effect me. I am willing to listen and learn about this options if the SDCC chooses one, but I am likely to have a problem with the any change. At least at first.
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